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Old 06-18-2020, 04:58 PM   #1
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THOR #11834
Tow Dolly Issues

I have been towing my car, a 2018 Civic, with a Road Master Tow Dolly, set up by Camping World. It has been one big pain in the neck. First, whenever I have to make a tight turn, the fender of the dolly sometimes comes in contact with my car, leaving scratches on it, even though the car is centered. Has anyone had this problem, and what can I do to prevent it?

Second issue, the dolly weighs quite a bit and is hard to move when not attached. For example manually moving it into a site that is a back-in. So, I am considering going to flat, four wheels on the road, towing. Who does such installations? I have a price of $4,600 (seems high)from one RV center nearby, and am waiting for a call back from CW. I checked with Uhaul, but they do not do this type of work.
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Old 06-18-2020, 05:02 PM   #2
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any '4-w drive' or 'truck modifications' 'off road' 'after market stereo' type shops can easily modify and install base plates and rear tail light wiring for tow cars.... and a LOT cheaper and better than rv dealers.

of course, you also have to make sure YOUR car is actually towable, 4-down.
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Old 06-18-2020, 05:13 PM   #3
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I just purchased a Jeep Wrangler to tow and I am setting it up myself. I just started ordering parts. Between the Roadmaster Nighthawk tow bar and base plate, wiring and the RVi portable brake system I am around $3100 in parts. I will probably add a Tow Defender screen to protect it from rocks and debris so that will be another $450.

If you are having them install a permanent brake system, that can take 3 - 6 hours to install so there is a lot of labor right there. I could install the permanent brake system but I don't feel like investing that much time and effort. Plus I like the idea of being able to move such an expensive part of the system to another vehicle easily.

The base plate is probably another 2 hours in labor and the tow bar next to no time at all but they will charge an hour at least to set it up and test everything.

Depending on labor rates..... that could be 8 - 10 hours of total labor so at least $800 - $1000, if not more.
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Old 06-18-2020, 05:26 PM   #4
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THOR #1469
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichRob View Post
I have been towing my car, a 2018 Civic, with a Road Master Tow Dolly, set up by Camping World. It has been one big pain in the neck. First, whenever I have to make a tight turn, the fender of the dolly sometimes comes in contact with my car, leaving scratches on it, even though the car is centered. Has anyone had this problem, and what can I do to prevent it?

Second issue, the dolly weighs quite a bit and is hard to move when not attached. For example manually moving it into a site that is a back-in. So, I am considering going to flat, four wheels on the road, towing. Who does such installations? I have a price of $4,600 (seems high)from one RV center nearby, and am waiting for a call back from CW. I checked with Uhaul, but they do not do this type of work.
First, does your dolly have a rotating bed? If so, are you locking the steering wheel after the car is loaded on the dolly? Is the dolly the correct with for the car? When I dolly towed Master Tow had 2 doilies that were 77 inch and 80 inch. I had the 80 and it handled a Ford Fusion and Ford Flex with no issues.

Depending on the equipment being installed 4600 might be in the ballpark or on the high side. My Jeep Grand Cherokee was setup by Camping World and it cost me around 3200 to include InvisBrake installation. I did have it done when they were run-in a 59.00 installation on anything.
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Old 06-18-2020, 08:56 PM   #5
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There is a lot of labor setting up a car and motor-home for 4-down towing, so that $4600.00 figure is not out of range, depending on what it includes. I paid right at $4000.00 about thirteen years ago, which included the base plate, tow-bar, all wiring, and a U.S. Gear proportional braking system installed. We towed that car behind our, at that time, 41 foot Tiffin bus, for years with not ever a single problem. I found someone, that had been service manager for an RV dealer, and was free-lancing so all work was done in my garage. I had everything transferred from the Bus to the Gemini, but I was never happy with how the Gemini towed, compared to the Bus, so we rarely towed, just rented a car when we got to where we were going. Now the Gemini is gone we are between motor-homes, but still have the car (Chevy HHR) which is set up to be towed. Not sure I would even want to tow again, renting was so easy, and worked well for us.
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Old 06-19-2020, 12:34 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Laco View Post
There is a lot of labor setting up a car and motor-home for 4-down towing, so that $4600.00 figure is not out of range, depending on what it includes. I paid right at $4000.00 about thirteen years ago, which included the base plate, tow-bar, all wiring, and a U.S. Gear proportional braking system installed. We towed that car behind our, at that time, 41 foot Tiffin bus, for years with not ever a single problem. I found someone, that had been service manager for an RV dealer, and was free-lancing so all work was done in my garage. I had everything transferred from the Bus to the Gemini, but I was never happy with how the Gemini towed, compared to the Bus, so we rarely towed, just rented a car when we got to where we were going. Now the Gemini is gone we are between motor-homes, but still have the car (Chevy HHR) which is set up to be towed. Not sure I would even want to tow again, renting was so easy, and worked well for us.


My self installed system with a “permanent” brake system on the Jeep was about $3200 for parts. $4600 seems maybe a bit high but is not outrageous considering how much labor is involved. We did it the other way around - rented cars for several years before finally deciding to tow. What decided it for us was snowbirding for 6 weeks at a time. It just wasn’t feasible to rent for such a long time. And towing turned out to be easier than we’d imagined.
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Old 06-22-2020, 02:34 PM   #7
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Thank you to all who responded. Since my post I have found that a friend who owns an auto body shop will do the work, if I provide everything I need. So that leaves me with another question, what do parts do I need to order?
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Old 06-22-2020, 04:47 PM   #8
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THOR #1469
For 4 down towing you will need
  • Baseplate
  • Towbar
  • Wiring kit and diodes for taillights
  • Supplemental Braking system (portable or installed)

You may also want to consider a dedicated charging circuit for the TOAD battery which should include wiring and fuse at a minimum.
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Old 06-22-2020, 07:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by EA37TS View Post
For 4 down towing you will need


  • Baseplate
  • Towbar
  • Wiring kit and diodes for taillights
  • Supplemental Braking system (portable or installed)



You may also want to consider a dedicated charging circuit for the TOAD battery which should include wiring and fuse at a minimum.


I did all of this plus a wireless alert back to the coach to monitor the actual application of the toad’s brakes. Certainly not really necessary but I like knowing when my Jeep is applying its own brakes.
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Old 06-22-2020, 08:10 PM   #10
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Sucks about wheel covers touching your ride. Might have to carpet them?

$4,600 is about right on the head for the cost. Judge broke it down real nice!

I like my tow dolly. I put a mini hitch on my tow ride so I can tow my dolly around and move it without killing back.

I also put a fold down wheel on mine.

It's really nice to have the hitch when your brand new RV's engine blows! Ha
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Old 06-27-2020, 07:11 PM   #11
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That is about right. You can go to etrailer.com and put the part numbers in to validate part pricing. The parts are usually 5 to 15% cheaper, however unless your a do it your selfer, you install could run 1000 to 1800 depending installer, vehicle and baking system.

Braking systems invisibrake , stay n play for permanent system will cost 1500 to 2000 installed.
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Old 06-27-2020, 09:27 PM   #12
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THOR #12722
Tow Dolly

I use a Master Tow Dolly and tow a Ford Escape. We are on are second tow car which is a 2019 Ford Escape. I did the set-up myself for less then $100. I use the lights on the car as brake lights by installing a isolating diode system. The tow dolly has electric brakes. When we make reservations I always get a pull thru spot. It takes me about 10-15 minutes to disconnect and about 20 minutes to connect. A tow dolly works best for us since we use my wife's car that she also travels in for work and mileage adds up fast. I just pull the isolating diode system off the old vehicle and put it on the new vehicle.

If your car does not have steering lock you will have to lock the steering wheel manually. I use a ratchet strap. I have never had the vehicle hit the fender no matter how sharp I turn.
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Old 06-27-2020, 09:27 PM   #13
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Been there

We went through using a tow dolly for a couple years. Definitely a pain.
Bought a jeep wrangler, cost about a 1100 to have the base plate and wiring done at a local hitch shop. Tow bars were given to me by a friend, so not sure about that. Have another grand in a rvi brake for the jeep.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichRob View Post
I have been towing my car, a 2018 Civic, with a Road Master Tow Dolly, set up by Camping World. It has been one big pain in the neck. First, whenever I have to make a tight turn, the fender of the dolly sometimes comes in contact with my car, leaving scratches on it, even though the car is centered. Has anyone had this problem, and what can I do to prevent it?

Second issue, the dolly weighs quite a bit and is hard to move when not attached. For example manually moving it into a site that is a back-in. So, I am considering going to flat, four wheels on the road, towing. Who does such installations? I have a price of $4,600 (seems high)from one RV center nearby, and am waiting for a call back from CW. I checked with Uhaul, but they do not do this type of work.
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Old 06-27-2020, 09:31 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by RichRob View Post
Thank you to all who responded. Since my post I have found that a friend who owns an auto body shop will do the work, if I provide everything I need. So that leaves me with another question, what do parts do I need to order?
Exactly what I did setting up our 2012 6-speed manual trans Mini Cooper for towing 4 down. With the Blue Ox tow bar and baseplate kit, Patriot auxiliary brake, my out of pocket was between $2,500 and $3,000. We used a Mastertow dolly for about 2 years and found it to be a major PITA to deal with when we were parked or trying to load up in the rain.
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Old 06-27-2020, 09:59 PM   #15
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Just had everything done to tow our Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4 down. Blue Ox Aventa tow bar, Blue Ox tow plate, RVI3 brake system, all wiring, connections etc. Was $4600 taxes included. My first experience towing 4 down. I will never go back to anything else. Chilhowee RV did an outstanding job.
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Old 06-27-2020, 10:10 PM   #16
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I have a 2015 Honda CR-V with a constant velocity CV transmission. I've been told that you cannot tow it because of the CV transmission. That includes 2-wheel dollies and flat towing. Does your Honda have a CV transmission? If so, you may want to validate what I was told.
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Old 06-27-2020, 10:14 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Dick Rohde View Post
I have a 2015 Honda CR-V with a constant velocity CV transmission. I've been told that you cannot tow it because of the CV transmission. That includes 2-wheel dollies and flat towing. Does your Honda have a CV transmission? If so, you may want to validate what I was told.
If your CRV is NOT AWD you can dolly tow it.
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:18 AM   #18
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thats why i bought a kar kaddy, the tires steer on turns. as far as having to disconnect, always get a pull thru.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichRob View Post
I have been towing my car, a 2018 Civic, with a Road Master Tow Dolly, set up by Camping World. It has been one big pain in the neck. First, whenever I have to make a tight turn, the fender of the dolly sometimes comes in contact with my car, leaving scratches on it, even though the car is centered. Has anyone had this problem, and what can I do to prevent it?

Second issue, the dolly weighs quite a bit and is hard to move when not attached. For example manually moving it into a site that is a back-in. So, I am considering going to flat, four wheels on the road, towing. Who does such installations? I have a price of $4,600 (seems high)from one RV center nearby, and am waiting for a call back from CW. I checked with Uhaul, but they do not do this type of work.
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Old 06-29-2020, 03:43 PM   #19
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I am looking at a tow dolly from Acme EZE Car Dolly. I am looking at the one that has the surge braking system. I am planning on towing my 2014 Ford Flex on long trips. The cost of the dolly is about $1700. My Flex's steering wheel does not lock so I don't have to leave the ignition switch turned to the on position to allow the front wheels to turn with the dolly. The dolly also stores upright to save garage space and should slip about 3/4 under the motor home at a campsite.

Paul
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Old 06-29-2020, 05:47 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by paulwadley View Post
I am looking at a tow dolly from Acme EZE Car Dolly. I am looking at the one that has the surge braking system. I am planning on towing my 2014 Ford Flex on long trips. The cost of the dolly is about $1700. My Flex's steering wheel does not lock so I don't have to leave the ignition switch turned to the on position to allow the front wheels to turn with the dolly. The dolly also stores upright to save garage space and should slip about 3/4 under the motor home at a campsite.

Paul
Is there a reason you are dolly towing rather than flat towing the Flex?

When we had our 2009 Flex we also had a 2008 Fusion so we dolly towed. This way we could tow either car depending on our needs during any given trip. We had a Master Tow 80 with surge brakes and both vehicles had locking steering columns which was needed for the Master Tow's rotating bed.
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